Digest>Archives> September 2008

Wickie's Wisdom

Could Straitsmouth Lighthouse Go To Wrong Group?

By Timothy Harrison


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The keeper’s house at Straitsmouth Island ...
Photo by: Jeremy D’Entremont

The government, under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, is offering up for adoption the Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse off Cape Ann in Rockport, Massachusetts. This means that any qualified nonprofit or other government agency can apply for ownership of the lighthouse.

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One of the outbuildings at the Straitsmouth ...
Photo by: Jeremy D’Entremont

However, this might cause quite a stir with the Massachusetts Audubon Society, which owns 99% of the island. Since the 1960s the Massachusetts Audubon Society has owned the island and, with the exception of the lighthouse tower, everything else on the island, including the old keepers house and other outbuildings, they have allowed to deteriorate without care or concern for the historic significance of the property. To learn more about this you can refer to the September 2001 story in Lighthouse Digest about the lighthouse entitled, “Death of a Lighthouse, Mass. Audubon Allows History to Crumble.” The story is also available at www.LighthouseDigest.com

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Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse.
Photo by: Jeremy D’Entremont

Because of the inaction of Massachusetts Audubon Society, which is obvious from their blatant neglect of the keeper’s house at the Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse Station, should they decide to apply for ownership of the tower, the government should not even consider their application for ownership of the structure.

Hopefully some group that really cares about saving lighthouses will apply for ownership of the tower to honor the legacy that was left for us to protect for future generations. Who will win the final battle to save history? The birds, which the lighthouse keepers coexisted in harmony with? Historic preservationists, who also believe in coexisting in harmony with birds, Or, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, who apparently believe that birds cannot coexist in harmony with historic preservationists?

This story appeared in the September 2008 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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